Saturday, October 9, 2010

Here, Kitty, Kitty

I have a wonderful commute to work each day. I get to drive through a National Park. The park is Saguaro National Park West. Actually my property is adjacent to the park, so my drive is very peaceful. Not much shade, but very picturesque.

The other morning, there was a critter crossing the road. It was tawny colored, and at the distance, I thought it was a coyote. As I was approaching it, it was continuing across the road, breaking into an easy, rolling lope. It was bigger than the usual coyote. The tail was long and was minus the scruffy look of a coyote's tail. It all clicked. This was not a coyote, but a mountain lion.

It is rare to view a mountain lion because they normally hunt at morning and dusk, preferring to lay in the shade during the day, especially where man does not have a presence. What a delight.

A few years ago, I was closing the gate to my property, and I looked down in the sand and I thought I saw a foot print of a mountain lion in the sand. I looked at it closely and considered it very carefully. If it were a cat track, I would have to keep watch on my horses. Good thing I did not have any foals at the time. About three weeks later, a neighbor reported that they saw a male mountain lion on my property a few weeks ago. Up to the minute reporting by my neighbor. Great.

A friend of a friend lives outside of the park, but in the Tucson Mountains near me. She reported that she was cleaning out her refrigerator. She took a spoiled tuna casserole outside and was scooping the contents of the bowl in her yard where the wild life could partake of the former human food. From the brush came a magnificent male mountain lion, walking straight towards her. She had the presence of mind to not run, so the cat would not chase her down as if she were prey. She stood there, holding the bowl and the cat got to where she was standing, proceeded to lick the bowl clean. Then he licked her fingers. It was a magical moment. To be so close to something wild, and beautiful. Magical, until the lion turned and marked his territory on her leg.

Well, I guess it could have been worse.